Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, blamed by Democrats and some of his fellow Republicans as a chief architect of the ongoing government shutdown, struck back on Saturday, faulting President Obama and Senate Democrats for the political stalemate.
“Let me be very clear, I don’t think we should be in a shutdown,” Cruz said in a speech to conservatives in the Virginia state capital. “Throughout the course of it, I have said we should not shut down the government. But sadly this is Harry Reid’s and President Obama's shutdown.”
The government shutdown began Tuesday when the president refused to give in to Republican demands that he delay or change the Affordable Care Act, the signature achievement of his first term that began enrolling patients on October 1, in exchange for passing a routine spending bill.
Watch CNN's "State of the Union" for an exclusive interview with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz at 9 a.m. and noon ET.
Follow @politicalticker Follow @PeterHambyCNN
In the run-up to the shutdown, Cruz - whose profile has risen considerably among conservatives since taking office this year - had lobbied Republicans in the House and Senate not to relent, even as the president was promising not to sign any bill that would alter "Obamacare."
Cruz reminded the audience that House Republicans have passed multiple “narrowly targeted continuing resolutions” to fund parts of the government as negotiations continue, but he criticized Democrats for refusing to pass them.
He said Senate Democrats are “dug in.”
“We are in the midst of a battle,” Cruz said. “Their position is untenable right now.”
Cruz, who spoke without notes for nearly an hour, said Republicans would win the shutdown fight but offered little in the way of concrete solutions.
“How do we win?” he asked. “If you trust the media, if you trust the voices in Washington, if you even trust, god forbid, some of the elected Republicans in Washington, they say we can’t win this fight. The only way to win this fight is the way we won every other fight throughout the history of the republic, which is solutions don’t come from Washington, D.C., they come from the people.”
“Career politicians in both parties have gotten us into this mess,” he said. “But it’s going to be the American people who get us out.”
According to a CBS News poll released this week, 72% of Americans disapprove of the shutdown, and more Americans blame Republicans in Congress than Obama.
But the audience inside a convention center ballroom here was firmly behind Cruz, interrupting his speech frequently with applause.
“It’s about time that someone abandoned the notion that compromise is the best way to win,” said Rev. Mark Morrow, the Williamsburg pastor who introduced Cruz, a freshman senator who was elected in 2012 with tea party backing.
Throughout his remarks, Cruz made clear he cares little for the approval of his colleagues in Washington, Republicans included.
"There are so many elected officials in both parties that desperately crave the adulation of the media and the intelligentsia,” he said.
Virginia’s Republican candidate for governor, attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, spoke earlier in the program, an appearance that had consumed the governor’s race all the week.
Democrats, betting that Cruz’s uncompromising behavior in Washington is toxic to moderate voters in a state whose economic health is tied to the federal government, have been working overtime to portray Cuccinelli as a close ally of Cruz.
His Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Terry McAuliffe, has accused Cuccinelli of being Robin to Cruz’s Batman, even running a television ad this week saying that “Ted Cruz’s tea party shutdown is hurting Virginia.”
Cuccinelli, whose fortunes depend on turning out conservative base voters on Nov. 5, has been reluctant to criticize his fellow Republicans, including Cruz, over the shutdown.
But his aides have been at pains to put some distance between the Republican candidate and Cruz, noting that his appearance here was not an official campaign event, and that he and Cruz were invited separately to the gala.
Before the event, Cuccinelli and Cruz crossed paths and chatted briefly backstage. A Cuccinelli aide told reporters that Cuccinelli urged Cruz to find a solution to the shutdown.
During his brief remarks, Cuccinelli made no reference to Cruz, and he departed from the convention center soon after leaving the stage.
Cruz, though, lavished praise on Cuccinelli, who was the first state attorney general in the country to sue the federal government over the Affordable Care Act.
"Let me just say for a second how proud I am of my friend Ken Cuccinelli,” Cruz said. “He is smart, he is principled and he is fearless."
Demanding the de facto repeal of a piece of existing legislation just to pass a routine budget is not normal. It is an attempt to make an end run around the normal legislative process to repeal a piece of legislation. Tellingly, there is no historical precedent for it. The last shutdowns, in 1995 and 1996, were not the product of unilateral demands to scrap EXISTING law; they took place during a period of give-and-take budget negotiations. So, no Mr. Cruz, this is not on the Democrats. Nice try.
Thank you so much Mr. Cruz for helping the GOP tea partiers reveal what a bunch of deluded imbecile hypocrites they actually are, you have ZERO chance of being elected to higher office, as do most of your dead horse party. Thanks again.
He is a nut job! 72 percent of Americans blame th e republicans and he still doesn't get it. You don't win Mr. Cruz the American public loses when you "dig your heels in". Get over yourself.
“This isn't some damn game,” Boehner told Cruz. Heil Cruz!
For the unlucky (both of them) who have been able to get through the cluster you-know-what ObamaCare websites to sign up for the unAffordable Care Act, well, they’ve found they’re pretty much screwed.
ObamaCare is a ginormous disaster zone that has not one little bit of a chance of working. 29 states have not even set up ObamaCare exchanges, ObamaCare websites that don’t work, and promised savings on healthcare insurance is nothing but a big, fat lie. Surprising, coming from the normally honest Obama administration!
The only kid who has apparently signed up for ObamaCare is some libtarded young socialist Obama activist who actually never signed up for ObamaCare. He couldn’t get through because ObamaCare, like the entire Obama administration is an incompetent gaggle of failures. But hey, he can keep his doctor! No, he can’t. That was another lie. The only true thing said about ObamaCare is the death panels.
ObamaCare is nothing more than a giant ponzi scheme based on young people (who don’t want or need insurance) paying huge premiums to pay for the healthcare of elderly Americans. Young people, most of whom don’t pay attention to anything but getting laid and listening to @#&* rap music, are now discovering Uncle Hussein will have his little bony, socialist fingers deep in their pockets.
Stupid Americans who voted for Obama (several times in 2012) are finding out what we smart people knew all along. Obama and the Dims are incapable of telling the truth. Helll, most Dims are incapable of understanding the truth.
ObamaCare is nothing more than a massive transfer of wealth from the dwindling number of producers to the ever-increasing number of welfare moochers in America. Obama voters. The weight around America’s neck.
Perhaps the best thing for Republicans to do is to allow ObamaCare to move forward. Sure, it will kill the economy and tens of millions will lose jobs or be relegated to numerous part-time positions but maybe that is what it will take! With Obama in the White House, the moochers are winning.
There is NOTHING the federal government can do better than the private sector. Factors that have made health care insurance expensive have largely been caused by government and corrupt lobbyists. Obama delayed the employer mandate until after the mid-terms. Perhaps he will also end up postponing the individual mandates. Because once every day Americans are hit hard in their pocketbooks, the entire Obama house of socialist cards will collapse. Every generation needs their Jimmy Carter!
Ted Cruz is another Joe McCarthy. His grand standing radicalism has now shut down the Federal government. Cruz does not believe in our Democracy, where decisions are made by voters. Ted Cruz is a Southern neo Confederate that would like to repeat the Civil War and destroy our Federal government and destroy our economy. Ted Crus is destroying respect for the Republican Party. Cruz would be more at hime in a KKK Rally than in the U.S. Senate.
Moral values would be nice in DC..........
Cruz has lost it and has gone delusional! I do have to thank him thou, he is leading the Tea Party, right off a cliff!
Cruz is living in an alternate reality.
Independents like me are being turned off by the childish antics of rogue Republicans.
If winning now means losing, why yes!
Sorry but Cruz should not expect to be re-elected in Texas. His actions have accelerated Texas becoming a blue state.
We, the People need to make our voices heard loud and clear. However, due to the shutdown, Senate and Congress have more or less shut down their contact e-mails, phones, etc., due to shortage of staff. So, how is one to contact the folks we elected to represent our interests? Thought they were elected to vote the will of We, the People. They think they are all so smart with pointing their fingers and trying to "one-up" the other party. They aren't smart, they are pathetic, and they all need to be booted out on their butts the next time they run for re-election. We, the People need to make our point at the polls.
Will someone please tell Cruz that MLK Jr. (I HAVE A DREAM) died a long time ago?
Cruz, like the rest has no idea what he is even fighting for
"Their situation is untenable right now" Does he really expect anyone to believe this nonsense?
Does Nevada really have no one else other than 90 yr old stubborn jerk to elect?
Time for change people and you have to start at the leadership! Vote no if you want but stop tabling items and refusing to vote on them. Senate is at least half to blame!!!!!
Day Six of the Revolt of The Republitards .....Cruz is out of his mind please leave a message and he will get back to you as soon as he and Boehner are finished with their Race Based Rants on Obama Care.... Charles Bowen Solomon Stone
It is incredible that one egocentric politician from Texas could cause so much trouble to so many people. I pray he goes the same way as Micehlle Bachman and has a short career in the Senate. He is way over his head.
Cruz is a right-wing extremist who is trying to undermine a law enacted through a democratic process by holding a gun to America's head. He's no better than any other terrorist.
He needs to review American Hisrory. More often than not solutions were "imposed" by the Federl Government upon the states. Did Slavery end because southern States decided on their own to outlaw it? Its because of Federal "intervention" that today women can vote, that schools are multircial, that my African-American neighbor can drink from the same water fountain that I – a white American – do.
The Republicans are being blamed for this shutdown because they are to blame. Obama won both the popular vote and the electorial vote twice. And Cruz is saying his way is what the American people want, even though polls show 72% of the people don't agree with him? And by the way, didn't Texas once want to seceed from the USA under Perry? Well, if they want to go, let them go, but only if they take "Dr. Seuss" Ted Cruz with them.
I don't think the majority of the republican party understands representative democracy. They keep saying that the American People don't want the Affordable Care Act but that is exactly what their representatives voted for. You don't have to like it and you don't have to like the president or any democrat but you have to respect the republic. It took 60 votes in the senate to overcome a republican filibuster in committee. And it was THE PEOPLE who voted for those numbers as well as a majority in the house and the presidency. You want to repeal the law, get the votes from the people. (you'll probably need at least those numbers) Good luck with that, after this latest temper-tantrum, while attempting to subvert our republican democracy.
Exactly what kind of gesture is Cruz making with his arm?
What does the ObamaCare have to do with funding the Government. They have been adding extra attachments to the bill and those attachments have been added by the House and removed in the Senate. The Rest of the bill is for funding the Government. I thought John Boehner was Speaker of the House. Cruz needs to not play with the Senate and stay out of the House. He's playing both fields. John Boehner do your job and not be a puppet Speaker of the House......
To compromise or not to compromise .... Please advise the American people what path the conservative Republican caucus recommends. We are confused by the following:
“It’s about time that someone abandoned the notion that compromise is the best way to win,” said Rev. Mark Morrow, the Williamsburg pastor who introduced Cruz,
Cruz reminded the audience that House Republicans have passed multiple “narrowly targeted continuing resolutions” to fund parts of the government as negotiations continue, but he criticized Democrats for refusing to pass them. He said Senate Democrats are “dug in.”
Perhaps confusion is their objective ...